In 2020, Christians in Leicester and Leicestershire Against Modern Slavery (CLLAMS) was founded. CLLAMS is a group of deeply committed Christians who long to see modern day slavery eradicated from its communities. Since its foundation, CLLAMS has undertaken a huge amount of impressive work, and much more is planned.
Providing high-quality resources and training
CLLAMS is working to raise awareness of modern slavery by providing compelling resources and training to people across the diocese. Examples of the work include:
- Information and resource packs on modern slavery were posted to every Anglican parish church in the diocese.
- A Facebook group was created to publicise regular content from The Clewer Initiative, Unseen, GLAA, Stop the Traffik, Salvation Army, and a number of other organisations, as well as posting locally relevant articles and stories. The aim is to spark conversation with and among Christians across the diocese.
- An online modern slavery-themed campaign throughout Fairtrade Fortnight, which was widely publicised.
- The Clewer Initiative’s Women in the Shadows Lent course, which two church groups and a CLLAMS group ran throughout Lent. The course provoked many fruitful conversations in different churches about modern slavery.
- The Clewer Initiative’s Breaking County Lines ‘Train the Trainer’ training took place across three Thursday afternoons, and was attended by people from across the diocese. The training was lively and well-received.
- A panel event with representatives from three different organisations, talking about their local and international, modern slavery work
- Speaking in and consulting with numerous churches about how they can play their part in the fight against modern slavery.
- Speaking to groups of headteachers at Church of England primary schools across the county, sharing modern slavery resources for schools and planning joint events.
- Producing and circulating resources including prayers and videos for churches and groups to use in relation to modern slavery.
Working in collaboration with partners
Partnership is key to success, and CLLAMS is working with a range of other organisations to spread its message and unite with others. For example, it has begun partnering with the Dorcas Dress project, offering English lessons and pastoral support for women working in Leicester garment factories. It is also partnering with an organisation that offers regular confidential chaplaincy to women working in the sex industry in Leicester.
CLLAMS is represented on the Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Modern Slavery Action Group (LLRMSAG). The group brings together partners from a range of statutory and non-statutory organisations, including the police, City Council, NHS, and charities, including Hope for Justice and others.
CLLAMS also works with a number of diocesan bodies, including:
- The Diocesan Safeguarding team, who encourage all Parish Safeguarding Officers across the Diocese to undertake modern slavery training. The Diocesan team also publicise the UK Modern Slavery Helpline for people to promote in churches, as well as other resources.
- The Diocesan Social Responsibility Panel, which CLLAMS are represented on, regularly mentions modern slavery in Diocesan Social Responsibility communications.
Pushing for political action
CLLAMS participated in the consultation process for the New Plan for Immigration, speaking out about the impact on victims of modern slavery. It had an article published through diocesan communications in which it strongly encouraged people to participate in the consultation, write to their MPs, and have conversations in their churches and communities about the New Plan for Immigration, and its impact on modern slavery victims across Leicester and Leicestershire.
Partnering with churches across the Diocese
CLLAMS is working with Leicester Cathedral and other churches across the Diocese to run innovative and engaging events, aimed at raising awareness, including:
- A Modern Slavery Service in the Cathedral, featuring a sermon from a member of CLLAMS.
- The Leicester Mothers’ Union made 10,000 crochet chain links, which were wrapped around the Cathedral for Anti-Slavery Week. The chain links were a powerful symbol, representing the 10,000 people estimated to be trapped in situations of modern slavery in the city. The chains went on tour around several Leicestershire churches and parishes throughout 2021-2022, sparking conversations, events and special services relating to modern slavery
- An exhibition of awareness raising display boards in St Martin’s House over Anti-Slavery Week.
- A ‘March for Freedom’, organised via the CLLAMS Facebook page by people from three Leicester churches.
Looking to the future – supporting exploited workers
Always looking to the future, CLLAMS’ next goal is to begin working alongside food pantry projects which are accessed by many garment workers in Leicester, to see how they might be able to support those who may be being exploited. It has also begun working with women and families seeking asylum, offering intensive pastoral and practical support and mobilising churches to engage in various ways.